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Rapid economic change over the past 25 years has dramatically altered the character and performance of the labor market, making it increasingly difficult for workers, particularly those with low skills, to find jobs and careers that will enable them to attain a decent standard of living. A few workforce development programs are seeking to overcome this challenge by developing sectoral employment strategies that seek to alter the labor market in a targeted occupation to the benefit of all low-income workers in that sector, not just their own program participants. This report discusses the key elements of a sectoral employment strategy and highlights the experiences of thirteen seasoned workforce programs implementing such sectoral strategies as business development, job training, organizing, and research and policy analysis.
Pew Hispanic Center;
Reviews the monthly trends in the major labor market indicators for Hispanics since January 2000. Analyzes changes in Hispanic employment and wages during 2003, and examines changes in employment by selected characteristics of Hispanic workers.
IZA World of Labor;
Reducing youth unemployment and generating more and better youth employment opportunities are key policy challenges worldwide. Active labor market programs for disadvantaged youth may be an effective tool in such cases, but the results have often been disappointing in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The key to a successful youth intervention program is comprehensiveness, comprising multiple targeted components, including job-search assistance, counseling, training, and placement services. Such programs can be expensive, however, which underscores the need to focus on education policy and earlier interventions in the education system.
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition;
Youth employment is the norm in American society. Approximately 80% of youth report holding jobs during their high school years (National Research Council, 1998). Entry into the labor market often begins early, with about half of youth ages 12 and 13 reporting that they work (Rothstein & Herz, 2000). Although statistics are gathered regularly about youth employment in the general population, comparatively little was known about employment patterns of youth with disabilities until the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) collected data from 1987 to 1990 (see footnote 1). The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) (see footnote 2) began updating and expanding data on youth with disabilities in 2001, including information on employment. Information reported here comes from telephone interviews and a mail survey conducted in 2001 with parents and guardians of youth with disabilities, and from comparisons made with 1987 NLTS employment data. Findings from NLTS2 are generalizable to youth with disabilities nationally who were 13 to 16 years old in December of 2000, and to each of 12 federal disability categories and to each age group (e.g., all 13-year-old students with disabilities, all 14-year-old students with disabilities, etc.). According to parents' reports, almost 60% of youth with disabilities are employed during a 1-year period -- some at work-study jobs, but the vast majority at non-school-related jobs.
Over the past two decades, an innovative approach to workforce development known as sectoral employment has emerged, resulting in the creation of industry-specific training programs that prepare unemployed and underskilled workers for skilled positions and connect them with employers seeking to fill such vacancies. In 2003, with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, P/PV launched the "Sectoral Employment Impact Study" to rigorously assess whether mature, nonprofit-led sector-focused programs could increase the earnings of disadvantaged workers and job seekers. P/PV selected three organizations to participate in the study -- a community-based organization focused on medical and basic office skills in Boston, a social venture focused on information technology in the Bronx, and an employer-union partnership focused on healthcare, manufacturing and construction in Milwaukee.
The study's findings show that program participants earned about $4,500 -- 18 percent -- more than the control group over the course of the study and $4,000 -- 29 percent -- more in the second year alone. Study participants were also more likely to find employment, work more consistently, work in jobs that paid higher wages, and work in jobs that offered benefits. Furthermore, there were earnings gains for each subgroup analyzed, including African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, formerly incarcerated individuals and young adults.
Tuning In to Local Labor Markets also examines the strategies employed by the three organizations that took part in the study, as well as the common elements that appeared to be critical to their success. Implications for practice, policy and future research are explored; a forthcoming piece will provide detailed recommendations for policymakers.
This executive summary highlights the main findings and conclusions from "Tuning In to Local Labor Markets: Findings From the Sectoral Employment Impact Study" -- the first random assignment evaluation of sector-focused training efforts. We studied three nonprofit organizations -- a community-based organization focused on medical and basic office skills in Boston, a social venture focused on information technology in the Bronx, and an employer-union partnership focused on healthcare, manufacturing and construction in Milwaukee -- and found that participants in these programs worked more, had higher earnings and found better jobs (as measured by hourly wages and access to benefits) than members of the control group.
The executive summary examines strategies used by the three organizations in the study, describes the people served, and outlines common elements that likely contributed to the programs success.
Center for Urban Economic Development;
Based on a survey of low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, examines the prevalence of workplace violations by employer, job, and worker characteristics, including gender and nativity. Calls for a policy agenda to protect workers' rights.
Pew Hispanic Center;
Tracks the labor market trends for Hispanics from the first quarter of 2003 to the first quarter of 2004. Examines job gains by citizens and non-citizens nationally, and explores the political impact of the employment picture.
Pew Charitable Trusts;
Focuses on minimum wage laws and unions in surveying the literature on the impact of labor market institutions on employment, economic growth, and income distribution, as well as their effects on intragenerational and intergenerational mobility.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
We use Bureau of Justice Statistics data to estimate that, in 2008, the United States had between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatly lowers ex-offenders' prospects in the labor market, we estimate that this large population lowered the total male employment rate that year by 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points. In GDP terms, these reductions in employment cost the U.S. economy between $57 and $65 billion in lost output.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
In October 2009, the unemployment rate broke double digits for the first time in over two decades. That month, nearly 15.4 million Americans found themselves out of a job. This represented a stark shift from just two years earlier, when the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent and seven million Americans were looking for work.
While unemployment remained elevated for a time, it has been falling quickly in recent years. This past January, the unemployment rate dropped below five percent for the first time in eight years. While there have been some monthly fluctuations since then, the unemployment rate has averaged 4.9 percent through the first six months of 2016.
Along with the relatively strong rate of job growth -- the economy has added 2.4 million private- sector jobs over the past 12 months -- the low unemployment rate has engendered discussions of whether the labor market is fully recovered. This debate is extremely relevant to both monetary and fiscal policy: if the job market is still weak, the Federal Reserve ("Fed") should keep interest rates low and the government should run larger budget deficits; if the job market is nearly recovered, the Fed should begin increasing rates and the government should avoid fiscal stimulus.
This paper argues that the labor market is still weak despite the low unemployment rate. Many media outlets and policymaking institutions have argued the opposite -- as one Fortune headline recently put it, "The U.S. Economy Is Finally at Full Employment." Similarly, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is tasked with advising members of Congress on economic policy, estimates that unemployment fell to its natural long-term rate in the first quarter of 2016. Perhaps most importantly, the Fed seems to accept this view as well. Earlier this month, Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said that "the economy is at or near full employment"; in May, San Francisco President John Williams said it was "basically at full employment." Fed Chair Janet Yellen has expressed a similar position, stating that the labor market is close to full employment. Finally, in their June "Summary of Economic Projections," voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) -- the group tasked with setting interest rate policy -- estimated that the long-run unemployment rate lies between 4.6 and 5.0 percent, with the median forecaster projecting a rate of 4.8 percent. In line with this view, Fed officials predicted five rate hikes through the end of 2017.
If the labor market is weaker than the Fed believes, raising rates in the near future will needlessly throw many Americans out of work. This paper presents evidence that the job market remains weak; in general, the estimates indicate that the economy is about two-thirds recovered from the Great Recession.
Zellerbach Family Foundation;
This report was commissioned by the Zellerbach Family Foundation to inform plans for a conference and regional network of Bay Area day labor programs that would facilitate the exchange of program designs, shared resources, and joint strategies to improve opportunities for day laborers.